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French Lutherans reelect president

Participants in the EELSF’s 2024 Synodical General Assembly.

FRANCE – The Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France (Église Évangélique Luthérienne – Synode de France – EELSF) held its biennial Synodical General Assembly from May 10-12, 2024 in Châtenay-Malabry and Paris. The theme for the gathering was “First to the Lord,” based on 2 Corinthians 8:5.

EELSF President Gleisson R. Schmidt (front right) and the other elected members of the church’s Synodical Council.

The assembly saw Rev. Dr. Gleisson R. Schmidt reelected to a second term as president. Originally from Brazil, President Schmidt was first elected to lead the church in France in 2020. Rev. Garry V. Heintz was elected to serve as Vice President, succeeding Rev. Philippe Volff who had served in the role since 2012. Élodie Lieby was elected to serve as treasurer, Noëlle Boisnault was reelected as secretary, Jean-Luc Fortmann was elected as assistant to the treasurer, and Justine Volff was elected as assistant to the secretary.

Rev. François Lara of the Saint-Peirre parish in Châtenay-Malabry prepared a series of seven Bible studies on the convention theme, drawing on a study by Wilbert Kreiss entitled: “Living Stones and Faithful Stewards.” The seven studies, which were led by other pastors as Rev. Lara was unable to attend due to health reasons, discussed the consecration of: life; our thoughts; the body; our time; our talents; our goods; and our wealth.

A business session during the EELSF’s Synodical General Assembly.

Among other business, the EELSF’s assembly adopted a resolution calling for the creation of an online centre for theological education; adopted statements touching on sanctity of life issues; considered plans to establish church fellowship with several Lutheran church bodies in Africa; and resolved to seek fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (Suomen evankelisluterilainen Lähetyshiippakunta–ELMDF). The assembly also made plans to mark the 450th anniversary of the Book of Concord in 2027; the 500th anniversary of the Small and Large Catechisms in 2029; and the 500th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession in 2030.

SELK Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt (second from right) brought greetings from the church in Germany to the EELSF’s Synodical General Assembly.

The church received written greetings from partner churches in Belgium, Canada, Chili, Haiti, and Paraguay. Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt of Germany’s Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (Selbständige Evangelisch—Lutherische Kirche – SELK) brought greetings in person to the assembly.

The final day of the assembly saw participants gather for worship at Saint-Sauveur parish in Paris, during which time members of the Synodical Council were installed. A luncheon followed the service, with final assembly business taking place thereafter.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France is a member church of the International Lutheran Council (ILC), a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies.


European Lutheran Conference: Sharing Hope in Times of Fear

Some of the participants in the 2021 European Lutheran Conference.

EUROPE – The 26th European Lutheran Conference (ELC) was held online from June 2-4, 2021, following a year’s delay due to the pandemic. Participants gathered under the theme “Sharing Hope in Times of Fear.”

The conference featured three keynote presentations: Rev. Sebastian Gruenbaum of Finland presented on “Living in My Generation: Hopes and Threats of Our Time in the Light of Christ’s Word;” Rev. Dr. Christian Neddens of Germany spoke on “Living with Hope in Daily Life: How the Christian Faith Shapes Our Actions and Witnessing to Our Generation;” and Rev. Dr. Asger Christian Hoejlund of Denmark lectured on “Hope as Drawn from Martin Luther’s Writings of 1520.”

“The presentations stimulated lots of discussion,” noted Chairman George Samiec of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England (ELCE), who participated in the event. In addition to the pandemic, he said, topics of discussion included personalities, the Last Judgement, looking to the future with fear or love, and the question of whether society is becoming increasingly intolerant. “It occurred to me that our conference theme is applicable all the time and not just in a pandemic,” Chairman Samiec continued, “because our world is full of mishap and mayhem, sudden death and chronic conditions where injustice and the grave seem to have the last word. Jesus has a message for all time because His love can cast out fear (1 John 4:18).”

The conference also featured morning and evening devotions, reports from member churches, group discussions of presentations, and the writing of a paper on the conference theme.

The next conference is set to take place in 2023 in Aarhus, Denmark. The Executive Committee members for that event are the same as for 2021’s: Rev. Klaus Pahlen of Germany’s Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (Selbständige Evangelisch—Lutherische Kirche – SELK) will serve as ELC President; President Leif Jensen of the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church in Denmark (Den evangelisk-lutherske Frikirke i Danmark – ELFD) will serve as ELC Vice President; and Rev. Claudio Flor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England will serve as ELC Secretary.

The ELC is an association of Confessional Lutheran church bodies in Europe. Delegates at this year’s conference included representatives of member churches in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom, all of whom are also members of the International Lutheran Council. The event also saw guests from churches in the Czech Republic, Finland, Spain, and Switzerland.

Additional information on the European Lutheran Conference is available on their website at:


France’s Lutheran Church President Recovering After Stroke

President Roger Jones.

President Roger Jones.

FRANCE – During meetings of the International Lutheran Council and the European Lutheran Conference (ELC) in Bleckmar, Germany, French representatives reported that President Roger Jones of the Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France (EELSF) is making steady recovery in hospital following a stroke.

President Jones suffered a severe stroke in March 2014, resulting from a previously unrecognized heart condition. Since then, he has been in hospital, having to learn anew how to walk and write. Despite these challenges, President Jones has seen in them opportunity for spiritual growth. “While I wouldn’t wish a stroke on anyone,” he writes in a letter read to conference participants in Bleckmar, “I think we can all pray, ‘Lord, increase my faith.’”

The EFC has assured President Jones of their prayers and well-wishes. “We are indeed saddened by your circumstances,” they write in a letter, “and yet you have encouraged us to continue to trust in God and to be assured that he is gracious and good. We pray for your continued recovery and that God will hold you and Emily, your congregation, and your church in his hands.”

Signing the ELC letter to President Jones.

Signing the ELC letter to President Jones.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France has ten churches, eight pastors, and more than 700 members. President Jones was elected to serve the church as its president in 2012.


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